verb de·fend \di-ˈfend\

: to fight in order to keep (someone or something) safe : to not allow a person or thing to hurt, damage, or destroy (someone or something)

: to fight or work hard in order to keep (something, such as a right, interest, cause, etc.) from being taken away

: to speak or write in support of (someone or something that is being challenged or criticized)

Full Definition of DEFEND

transitive verb
a :  to drive danger or attack away from <defend our shores>
b (1) :  to maintain or support in the face of argument or hostile criticism <defend a theory>
(2) :  to prove (as a doctoral thesis) valid by answering questions in an oral exam
c :  to attempt to prevent an opponent from scoring at <elects to defend the south goal>
archaic :  prevent, forbid
:  to act as attorney for
:  to deny or oppose the right of a plaintiff in regard to (a suit or a wrong charged) :  contest
:  to retain or seek to retain (as a title or position) against a challenge in a contest <they successfully defended their championship>
intransitive verb
:  to take action against attack or challenge
:  to play or be on defense <playing deep to defend against a pass>
:  to play against the high bidder in a card game
de·fend·able \ˈfen-də-bəl\ adjective

Examples of DEFEND

  1. The company must defend its own interests.
  2. We believed it was a cause worth defending.
  3. She defended her friend's behavior.
  4. Stop defending him. What he did was wrong.

Origin of DEFEND

Middle English, from Anglo-French defendre, from Latin defendere, from de- + -fendere to strike; akin to Old English gūth battle, war, Greek theinein to strike
First Known Use: 14th century

Synonym Discussion of DEFEND

defend, protect, shield, guard, safeguard mean to keep secure from danger or against attack. defend denotes warding off actual or threatened attack <defend the country>. protect implies the use of something (as a covering) as a bar to the admission or impact of what may attack or injure <a hard hat to protect your head>. shield suggests protective intervention in imminent danger or actual attack <shielded her eyes from the sun with her hand>. guard implies protecting with vigilance and force against expected danger <White House entrances are well guarded>. safeguard implies taking precautionary protective measures against merely possible danger <our civil liberties must be safeguarded>.
synonyms see in addition maintain
DEFEND Defined for Kids


verb de·fend \di-ˈfend\

Definition of DEFEND for Kids

:  to protect from danger or attack
:  to act or speak in favor of when others are opposed <She defended her teacher against the class's complaints.>

Synonym Discussion of DEFEND

defend, protect, and safeguard mean to keep safe. defend is used for a danger or an attack that is actual or threatening. <The soldiers defended the fort against enemy troops.> protect is used when some kind of shield can prevent possible attack or injury. <Protect your eyes with dark glasses.> safeguard is used when a course of action can protect against a possible danger. <The health rules help safeguard the students from disease.>


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